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Writing Can be a Lonely Business: the writing process & a Poem from a sentence prompt - Jodah's Challenge

Updated on March 27, 2016

The Challenge

Jodah, aka John Hansen, set a challenge to write from a random sentence pulled from any text. Each word of that sentence, in order, has to start each sentence in your own story or poem.

You can find the hub setting out the challenge by clicking on http://jodah.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Construct-a-Short-Story-Using-One-Sentence-as-a-Prompt

This is an interesting idea, a challenge which, though simple, is by no means easy. So thanks to John for giving us another spur to take a stroll outside our comfort zone.


A Writer's Essential

Source

The Source of my Sentence

My sentence prompt comes from the ‘Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2015’ published by www.bloomsbury.com ISBN 978-1-4081-9245-0. Go to www.writersandartists.co.uk for further details. Susan Hill, author of ‘The Woman in Black’ calls it ‘the Writers’ Bible’.

I was given the latest edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook for Christmas and was checking out their short story competition. Flicking through it, I stopped at a random page and this sentence, below right, caught my eye.


My Sentence Prompt

Source

A Lonely Business

It’s a true statement. By definition, writing has to be lonely. You need to sit down, usually at a desk in a separate room, without distractions. Your own words have to appear as if by magic from your brain. No-one else can write for you and you wouldn’t want them to.

You can draw inspiration from others’ words, from a picture, a photo, an event, nature, a person, a building or, as in this instance, from someone’s innovative idea. Even then, it’s often not easy. If you find it difficult to come up with something new, something fresh or a new approach, then your writer’s block can only be broken down, eventually, by you. If you use others’ work you are a plagiarist. If you give up, then you may as well find another pastime or career.


Research & Inspiration

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Travel: Le Louvre Art Gallery, ParisQuirky Artwork: Archer on the Battlements, Tower of LondonPastimes: Snooker - do you know the rules?Nature: boating on the lily pondFamily History: my paternal GrandparentsWildlife: the Hoopoe
Travel: Le Louvre Art Gallery, Paris
Travel: Le Louvre Art Gallery, Paris | Source
Quirky Artwork: Archer on the Battlements, Tower of London
Quirky Artwork: Archer on the Battlements, Tower of London | Source
Pastimes: Snooker - do you know the rules?
Pastimes: Snooker - do you know the rules? | Source
Nature: boating on the lily pond
Nature: boating on the lily pond | Source
Family History: my paternal Grandparents
Family History: my paternal Grandparents | Source
Wildlife: the Hoopoe
Wildlife: the Hoopoe | Source

Hope - Research

However, there is hope! Follow the advice of my chosen sentence and don’t work in a vacuum. Of course your writing has to come from you alone but that doesn’t mean you cut yourself off from the world for ever.

Research is vital for writing. Good research means:

- going out and about, discovering the life around you,

- observing your environment, be it town or country,

- looking up, down, left and right, taking in every detail of what you see,

- making notes,

- taking photos,

- recording conversations,

- jotting down ideas (no one can remember everything that comes along in a day),

- talking to people from all walks of life, all trades and professions,

- marketing your work to as many as possible, personally.


Use what's available

Even if you’re physically alone, you have the internet to make you feel part of a community, to give you advice, to act as a huge pool of information from which to draw. You can chat with people, face to face or via the net, or you can read relevant text that might help you.

Then, of course, you can ask others to read your work, give you an honest opinion, give constructive criticism (be selective about whom you ask to do this; a trusted friend is a good start). You can join writing groups where you can discuss ideas, learn from others, get support and inspiration.


Work Station

Comfortable and Practical
Comfortable and Practical | Source

Then you're Ready - Warm & Cosy with Plenty of Ideas

When you get back to your room you are much better equipped to begin writing. You don’t feel alone, even if you are physically isolated, because you have all that background, research, friendship and support on which to draw.

So, don’t work in a vacuum! Work in a cosy, warm room with all your writing materials, notes and favourite things around you. Time will go quickly if you’re totally absorbed in your work. Then you’ve earned a break, a cup of coffee, some contact with the outside world, before you go back to your little cocoon to write your best-seller.


Response to a Challenge

Right! Enough of that, let’s get down to the main purpose of this piece. Since John (Jodah) likes poetry, I’m going to write a poem. To remind you, it’s based on

‘Writing can be a lonely business - don’t work in a vacuum.’


Examples of Writing

Did Charlotte Bronte or A A Milne have these problems?
Did Charlotte Bronte or A A Milne have these problems?
Author William Holland - does he get lonely?!
Author William Holland - does he get lonely?! | Source
My Inspiration - Mum & Dad
My Inspiration - Mum & Dad | Source
A budding writer?  Oh yes!
A budding writer? Oh yes! | Source

Writing is a Funny Thing

Writing is a funny thing

when you find that you can fling

caution to the wind and sing

that great story, stretch your wings.


Can it be that you’re successful,

at the end of all those terrible

days and nights when you feel awful,

thinking all you’ve written is waffle?


Be courageous, set your sights,

target high roads, know your rights,

making sure that all your fights

bear close scrutiny from bright lights.


A bounty can be yours to keep

if you can take, with faith, that leap

into the unknown, into the deep,

to authorship, rewards to reap.


Lonely it can be some days

but you find that, through the haze,

comes an idea to amaze;

thus you feel the warm sun’s rays.


Business booms, you’re recognised

when that book attains the prize

from those friendly publisher guys -

careful, though, it’s no disguise!


Don’t expect it to continue

if you stop because, I bet you,

writing no more than a few

masterpieces just won’t do!


Work and work and work some more,

keep on phoning, bang that door,

reach for the skies, scrape that floor,

for then you’ll hear your public roar.


In a moment of distress

don’t give up, don’t let that mess

drag you low down, feeling less

than confident of your success.


A little break, a walk, fresh air

is what’s needed, throw your cares

to the breezes, even dare

to dance or sing and watch them stare.


Vacuum-packed is not for you,

so you needn’t ditch the view

of the world outside, a clue -

go with what’s inside of YOU!


Your Attitude to Challenges

Do you respond to a challenge?

See results

Have you responded to challenges?

See results

Comments

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    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Larry, for leaving such a kind comment.

      Ann

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Writing is such a lonely business. Wonderfully creative response.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Don't worry, John! I've almost done the same several times but if I'm looking at a hub which hasn't been published within a week, then I look at the comments first! I usually recognise a hub but not always! Definitely not 'Old timers', more like overload of work and all those wonderful writing ideas you have in your head.

      Anyway, I don't mind reading your comments more than once!

      Have a good week!

      Ann

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Well Ann, I don't know what's wrong with me. I must have a case of 'old timer's disease' or something. I certainly was the second person to comment duh! I obviously had to read this a second time. There must be a message in here that I need to read. Maybe I need to buy 'The Writers' and Artists' Year Book 2015' .

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, John! I appreciate your comment but actually, if you look at the comments, you'll find that you were the second person to visit this hub! So, no, I wasn't wondering; It's great to see you again though!

      I thoroughly enjoyed doing this challenge and I do like writing poetry.

      Have a great week!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you so much, Vellur, for your lovely comments and thank you for reading this.

      Ann

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Well Ann, this is a great response to my challenge. I simply love the poem and how it conveys the message of the sentence you used as a prompt and in fact the theme of the entire hub. I suppose you were wondering why I han't commented, well I either didn't receive notification or it was lost in my emails. Sorry about that, you did an admirable job. Voted up.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Beautifully expressed, great poem and a wonderful response to the challenge.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Iris, for both your comments! I was delighted with your kind words.

      It's so true that every writer (or anyone!) should get out and look at every detail of the world around them, including the people in it.

      I always appreciate your visits. Thank you.

      Ann

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Ann, your writing always demonstrates that you get out and do things. It's one of the reasons I like reading your work. Being a great writer isn't just about putting pen to paper. It's about articulating an experience. I really enjoyed this, as always.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Ann, you set a great example for what you recommend. Your writing always demonstrates that you get out and do things and find inspiration from doing those things. I enjoyed this on many levels.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you, Patsy, for reading and for the votes. Glad I gave you plenty to think about!

      Ann

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      Wow, you included a lot to think about. Voted up, interesting, useful, tweet.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I'm very well thank you, Jamie, and all the better for your charming comment. I too love these challenges and reading everyone's response.

      I hope this finds you well too.

      Ann

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      What a great inspirational hub. I love the work that is completed inspired by others challenges. Not only do your words inspire but are filled with wisdom. I hope you are well. Jamie

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Shyron! Glad you liked it and thanks for the votes.

      Looking forward to reading your response to the challenge.

      ann

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Ann, this is great I am anxious to get started on my own version of Jodah's challenge.

      Voted up, UABI and sharing

      Blessings Dear friend

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      vocalcoach: Thanks for a great comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this and I look forward to reading your hubs too.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      What a lovely comment, Theresa! Thank you so much. (I'm still trying to find the painting, though!) Being called 'inspirational' makes me feel so good; I'm smiling broadly! Thanks for the votes and sharing too.

      Writing is great fun even if it is lonely sometimes and we all keep each other going, don't we? I've been so inspired since being at hubpages; my writing was spasmodic before but now I hardly stop!

      Have a great day, Theresa!

      Love, Ann

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Wow! Your response to this challenge is well done! I enjoyed every bit, especially your poem.

      I will continue reading your hubs. Thanks.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Brilliant and inspirational, Ann! You are so creative in all of your response to the many challenges issued, and your challenge was interesting with your beautiful painting as a prompt.

      Now, if that poem doesn't inspire all of us, then I don't know what will do so.

      You are always a delight to read. Writing can be so lonely for sure, but you have provided us with great examples of how to make it not so lonely.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Blessings and love always

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      tobusiness: Jo, I approved your comment and then it disappeared! I've no idea what's happening but there seem to be a few glitches.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting; much appreciated!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      DDE: Sorry, your comment seems to have disappeared! I've had a few glitches and I don't know why. Feel free to re-submit if you like but thanks for commenting anyway!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Gypsy Rose Lee: Thank you for your kind comment. Good to see you.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Flourish, thank you so much for your comment and the votes. I'm glad you liked this. Yes, we all need to get back to the real world once in a while!

      Good to see you.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you, Mary, for your great comment and for the compliment. I appreciate your support. Thanks for the votes too.

      Ann

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      A most outstanding job.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Catherine is right about the double dare. I liked that you provided both a lovely poem and prose on the loneliness of writing. I find that sometimes it's important to stop and appreciate the world so there will be new things to write about.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Challenge or no this poem is fun to read and full of great ideas. Actually, this whole piece if full of great ideas. You could make this part of English 101 - Creative Writing. A good starting point for any writer and one to be kept and referred to.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you, Linda, for such a kind comment. 'Inspirational' I like! Good to see you today.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you, Ruby, for your kind comment. Yes, it is a good loneliness because we're doing what we love. Thanks for the visit; much appreciated.

      Ann

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The prose and the poem in this hub are very inspirational, Ann! Thank you for contributing to the challenge and creating such an interesting hub.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love your poetic response to this challenge. A writer's world is lonely at times, but it's a good loneliness. Well done Ann..

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Dora, for your kind comments. I'm glad you're challenged by the poem. A writer can feel lonely but not here on hubpages; we're surrounded by supportive friends.

      I appreciate your visit and your support.

      Ann

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Ann, thanks for the wise counsel prior to and throughout the poem. Writing sure is lonely business, but that's not bad if writers want to create something unique, independent of a team. I am challenged by the theme of perseverance in the poem.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Catherine. I didn't think of it as a double dare but I suppose it was! Yes, comments are great to have; communication is what we're about and it's good to have some in return.

      Thanks for your kind comments; it's always good to have you visiting.

      Ann

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You turned the challenge into a double dare. First an essay and then an acrostic poem. Well done. I liked your clever rhymes in the poem. Writing is indeed lonely, but comments relieve the solitude.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Perspycacious: Thank you! I have much to catch up on so I'm off to get that work done and maybe a few challenges along the way!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Frank. It's always good to have the opinion of a respected writer. Your support is appreciated. Glad you liked it.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, bill, and you're welcome. If I can't support a good friend's career then I wouldn't be a good friend, would I? Actually, I've just realised I didn't give the full link for you so I'll remedy that 'tout de suite'!

      I need friends today - off to the dentist for root canal work - ugh!! Yes, I'm a wooz, I admit it.

      Happy Monday, bill!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you, John (bigj1969) for such a great comment. I've just whizzed over to see what your real name is and it turns out you have the same one as my cousin. So thanks, cuz!

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Glad you enjoyed this, whonu, and thanks for the lovely comment.

      Ann

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Jackie, for such a kind comment. I'm glad you like it.

      Ann

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      A validated effort here, Ann. Now give yourself your own challenge.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      a good job Ann.. I read a few of them and this one really takes great job not living in a vacuum LOL

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful job, Ann, and I can't thank you enough for highlighting my humble novel. The fact that you did that should not surprise me, because I know you to be a giving human being, but it still gave me "warms and fuzzies."

      Well done my friend.

      bill

    • bigj1969 profile image

      John Marshall 2 years ago from glasgow

      Absolutely superb hub,loved it from start to finish.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed this and it certainly has my empathy and admiration. whonu

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Beautifully done, Ann. Very imaginative and you met the challenge well!

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thank you, John. I'm delighted you liked it. I always try to respond to the exact letter of challenges; I get lost otherwise!

      Your very kind comments make the whole exercise worthwhile and it was great fun taking up this challenge. Thanks, too, for the vote.

      Ann

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great work Ann. You were write to say I love poetry, and what I am particularly impressed with is that you are the first to take on the challenge exactly as I set it. Your poem is wonderful and the entire hub is full of wise advice about being successful as a writer. You chose you sentence well. Thank you for taking up my challenge. Voted up.

    • annart profile image
      Author

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Thanks, Will! I needed some light relief after the last hub so I enjoyed completing this. Glad you liked it and thanks for the lovely words and vote.

      Ann

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      A superb response to the challenge, and a beautiful work, Ann! Voted up

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